A Strange Encounter at Sweethome
When students go to college, they accumulate housing stories about roommates, RAs, new friendships and the occasional roommate argument.
My strange encounter, however, dealt with the bookkeeper who opened my bedroom door unannounced.
I live at Sweethome, which is about a five-minute drive from UB. I share my apartment with three other girls. We all have our own separate bedrooms and bathrooms. On Feb. 19 last year, at approximately 2 p.m., the bookkeeper of Sweethome let himself into my apartment. He came straight to my bedroom door and began aggressively knocking.
I don’t know how long he was banging on my door, but I still vividly remember opening my eyes and seeing the lock on my door turning. Within seconds, a tall male figure was in my doorway and he could very clearly see that I was still in bed. He then shut my door, locked it, and continued knocking. As you can probably imagine, I was firstly, very confused as to who this stranger was, and secondly, wondering why he would shut and lock the door after already opening it.
I wasn’t feeling well that day and had taken Nyquil, so I could get some rest before my night class. The medicine was in full effect and I felt drowsy. I forced myself to get out of bed and still answer the door. The feelings of infringement and violation of my privacy were in high gear. I opened the door just a crack, scared to see who was on the other side of the door.
The man introduced himself as the bookkeeper of Sweethome and began bombarding me with questions about unpaid rent. Absolutely confused, I told him I had never received an email or letter regarding the matter. Usually what’s supposed to happen, is if they do not receive that month’s rent, they are supposed to contact you and let you know.
He continued to state that I had been informed about the situation through email. To be perfectly clear, prior to this surprise encounter, he had reached out.
That was exactly eight minutes before he came banging on my door.
My rent was on automatic payment, and he had failed to inform me that it was unaccounted for through the last two months. The deadline for the third payment was fast approaching, and as you can probably imagine, with high monthly rent, we were far past $1,000. He waited until we were almost three months short before saying anything.
He had basically come to my door to threaten me with eviction. In the very words of his email, “if we do not receive them by the end of today your account will be sent to our attorney for eviction.”
Looking back on the matter now, I imagine he had fallen behind on bookkeeping and was simply attempting to cover himself. He had come to my door with a mission to intimidate me to pay up.
I will admit, it really shook me up. I pay to call a space away from home my safe haven, and yet, someone could just so easily barge into my private space like that. It took over a month before I began feeling comfortable in my own apartment again.
When we complained to Sweethome, the only answer management could give us was that it was their “protocol.” The Sweethome bookkeeper sent me an email only eight minutes before coming to my door. Eight minutes.
With over two months of time to send me a letter, email or even call, the bookkeeper conveniently decided that those eight minutes before his abrupt arrival was the best time to inform me.
Perhaps, it was my last name that led him to believe that I was a vulnerable international student that could be threatened and intimidated without consequences. He didn’t realize I was a New Yorker, and not just from any part of New York, but Long Island.
I share my encounter in hopes that I am the only one who has had an experience like this.
I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel threatened in their own private space, the way I did. It is important to speak up when something is not right.
Do not let anyone push you around and intimidate you. Hopefully, in the future, bookkeeping will be kept on top of so that incidents just like mine never occur again.
You can reach the opinion desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.